Sunday, April 24, 2011

Infertility Awareness Month

April is infertility awareness month so I wanted to blog about it to promote awareness. As many of you probably know, infertility has been a part of my life over the last few years. So, the issue is very personal one.

First of all, Infertility affects more individuals than you think. In the year 2002, 7.3 Million people used infertility treatments to try to have a baby(statistic from the center for disease control). As I went through this process of fertility testing and then fertility treatments to try to get pregnant, I learned that there were many women going throught the same thing and we were all suffering in silence. I met many women through online support groups, but many of them were not telling their families and friends about their struggles. I couldn't imagine going through all of that alone and having to lie to your family and friends. However, I understood it because there is such a stigma attached to infertility.

There are expectations from the world that once you get married, you then start to have babies. I am very familiar with this expectation. My husband, Tim and I married in 2002, but we were not ready to have a family at that point in our lives. We were only 24 years old and just had some many things that we went to accomplish in our careers. Now don't misunderstand me; I do not regret for one second waiting to start a family. I was not ready at 24 emotionally and I know I would not have been able to be a good Mother if I was not ready. Anyways, Tim and I got asked all the time when we were going to have children by family, friends, strangers, the whole world. And I would just tell them that we were not ready yet, maybe when I am about 30. But I finally felt ready emotionally and had accomplished everything I wanted to in my career and also realized that I was never going to have "enough" money to have kids. So, when family and close friends would ask, I was honest and told them that we were working on starting a family. Months and months passed by and I was still not pregnant and more and more of my friends were pregnant and I was getting older. I confided in friends and some family members about our struggles and they encouraged me to go to a fertility doctor. They were all supportive and I could not imagine going through all of the ups and downs of fertility treatments without their support. So, it makes me sad that so many women suffer in silence and don't tell anyone about their struggles.

People should not have to suffer in silence. If you had a disease like diabetes or cancer, you would tell those who you were close to and ask for their support, so why not with infertility. So, I guess what I am saying is that one of your friends or family members may be struggling with this and they do not want to tell you about it because they are scared that these fertility treatments may or may not work. There are no guarantees that you will get your baby. Infertility is an emotional rollercoaster. Majority of the time, doctors have no idea why you and your spouse cannot get pregnant. Most of us fall into the "unexplained infertility" category. The doctors do testing and try to figure out what is wrong, but they are not always able to do so without doing very invasive procedures like surgery.

Tim and I fell into the unexplained category initially because everything appeared to be normal. However, three months into treatments, I had to have surgery because of severe abdominal pain and it was discovered the the cause of our infertility was endometriosis. In understandable english my tubes were blocked with over growth of tissue. It all made sense after the fact. I have had heavy periods and horrible cramps for years and years and it was due to the endometriosis. It was a relief to have a reason why I could not get pregnant. However, at the same time, I felt shame and guilt because my body was the reason that were not getting pregnant. I felt like it was my fault. This is something that many people feel whose body is not working the way that it is supposed to.

And then there is the huge financial burden that infertility treatments put on a couple. Some people's insurance covers infertility, but many of them have a limit to what they will cover. So, if you want to pay for it out of your own pocket, for one treatment of IVF (in vitro fertilization) it is about 15,000 dollars and again there are no guarantees that it is going to work.

Tim and I tried IVF in January of 2011 and everything went perfectly, but I still did not end up pregnant. We were devastated when it did not work because we had gone through a month of shots and doctors appointments. Yes, shots where Tim injected me with hormones everyday and I went to the doctor every two to three days so they could keep a close eye on me. And at the end of the month when it was time to see if it had worked, the pregnancy test was negative. Our fertility benefits are now exhausted and if we do any other treatments in the future, we have to pay out of pocket.

We have taken a break from fertility treatments for now. I have been doing more of a eastern medicinal approach to infertility. What that mean is accupuncture and a healthy lifestyle. It has taken a lot of the pressure off and it is much more natural. I have also given all of my hopes, dreams, and control over my fertility to God. I have faith that he will bring us a baby when the time is right. God has a plan for all of us. It is important when going through infertility to tap into your spirituality because there is so much of it that is out of your control.

So, if you have a friend or family member struggling with infertility, be there for them, support them, listen, and don't judge. And if you are struggling with infertility yourself there is lots of support out there. I am always here to listen. If you want other websites, doctores, information, let me know. I would be happy to help in any way that I can. Thanks for listening and I hope this has brought some awareness to infertility.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Living in the Moment

I have been striving to find balance in my life and heal my emotional self. I have been reading a lot and finding inspiration in quotes. A few quotes that I like and have relevance to my life are:

Slow down and enjoy life. It is all happening perfectly.

Happiness is now here.

These two have similiar messages. To live in the moment. To stop searching for or chasing happiness.

In our western society, we often feel rushed and are looking to the next thing (the weekend, the next big event) that we struggle to enjoy the moment that we are in. I have struggled with this my entire life. I was not even aware of it for many years, but I am aware now and I am trying to stay present and be in the moment.

Another reason why people struggle to be in the moment is that the are stuck in the past. They struggle with events that occured in their childhood. They want to change the past and become stuck there.

In our materalized society, we are often searching for happiness in external sources. We might think that the new house, car, wedding, baby, etc. will bring us happiness. However, material things (houses, cars, phones) only bring us joy for a short while. Then the feeling of joy is gone and we are looking for the next big thing. Happiness can only be found inside of you. Sometimes we think that we will be happy once we find the perfect guy and get married or once we have a baby, but this is simply not true. Other people cannot be your source of happiness. The phrase from Jerry McGuire "You Complete Me" is not to be taken literally. You must know who you are and be a whole complete happy person before you share your life with someone else.

Well, you probably think that I am preaching here, but this has been my experience over the last thirty three years. You may have had a very different experience and it is my blog, so I will say what I want.

I am trying to live in the moment as much as I possibly can and not worry about all the things that I have to do later on or all the things that I did not complete earlier in the day. I recommend that you try it. It is something that you have to practice and remind yourself of, but it is worth it to have those precious moments with your loved ones.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do you have any regrets?

What is a regret? According to - a regret is to feel sorrow or remorse for an act (verb) or a sense of loss, disappointment, or dissatisfaction(noun).

I was watching Dr. Phil today and he had guests on the show who felt intense regret. As I watched the show, I thought, Do I have any regrets? And I can honestly say the answer is no. Well, now you are probably thinking she is lying or delusional. Everyone has things that they have done that they feel remorse for. Everyone has experienced loss and disappointment. Well, yes I have felt those things in the past. In fact, In my early 20's I felt intense regret over lots of things. I wished that I could go back and change many things in my past and felt anger and sadness over those things. But in time I learned that no matter how much I wanted to change the past, I could not. I learned that holding onto the anger and sadness was not helping anyone including myself. I realized that those experiences taught me lessons. I realized that those experiences allowed me to have people in my life that I love. I would not change that for anything. And if I hadn't made those mistakes or felt those disappointments, I would not be the same person that I am today. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, but I am so glad I did. I would not change one thing in my life. I continue to struggle with things, but the struggle is teaching me so much and making me a better person. This is all any of us can ask for.

There is a quote that I heard on the Oprah Show years ago that says it all. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past can be any different and moving on with your life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is Here

I love spring!!! It is definitely my favorite season of the year. It is a time of renewal. The birds begin chirping and making nests in my gazebo. They do this every year. Simba likes to go outside all the time to play, run, jump, walk, get muddy, and visit his friends in the neighborhood. And by visit I mean bark at them through the fence or lick, sniff, and kiss them when there is no fence separating the two of them. I also love that all the flowers that start to come up and the grass turns green and the trees start to bloom. It is wonderful.

I also love spring because my birthday is two days after spring begins. This means that I get to see lots of my friends and family that I love. And usually Tim will take me shopping to the outlet mall where I can get new clothes for spring/summer and new shoes. I also just love to be outside in warmth and sunshine.

Another reason why I love spring is our anniversary is in the spring. We got married on May 18, 2002. This year will be our 9th anniversary. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of the best days of my life. I married my best friend and every year our relationship just keeps getting better. We have often gone on vacation in May to celebrate our anniversary to places like Hawaii, California, Aruba, and several others. I love Hawaii. It holds a piece of my heart and soul. It always feels like home to me and I love visiting there.

Spring is also a time for renewal. And it is a time for me to evaluate my life and change anything that I don't like. This spring is bringing lots of changes for me. I am going to be starting my own practice which I am really excited about. I will be able to focus on helping people to move forward and make changes in their lives. I am so excited about this. It is something that I have wanted to do since I was in undergraduate school at Lake Forest College and it is finally going to be a reality.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of flowers and trips to Hawaii and Simba.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Back

I have neglected my blog for way too long. There are a few reasons why I have not posted anything. To start of I was really trying not talk about my fertility issues on this blog. I know I vaguely mentioned them before, but over the last 6 months they have taken over my life in a lot of ways. There is nothing that I want more than to have a baby, but my body has not been cooperating with that. Infertility is an emotional roller coaster and the ups and downs started to take their toll on me in August of this year. So, the other reason that I hadn't been posting is because I have been sad and had a negative attitude. We have tried so hard and for so long to have a baby and still no baby.

However, I have renewed hope lately. I had surgery back in September and the doctor found the cause of infertility and is confident that the treatments are going to work. I am not going to bore you with all the gory details of infertility treatments. I have been on hold for the last two months allowing my body to heal. And now the wait is over, so I feel better, happier, and more positive.

I will try to post some pics of things that we did over the summer and fall. I am behind on even getting them out of camera. But I promise to post more and stay positive. I hope that I have not lost all of my readers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Fun

It has been way too long since my last update. We were busy having lots of summer fun in June with family and friends. In fact, we were so busy that I ended up getting sick with bronchititis at the end of June and couldn't go to summerfest. Which made me really sad because we go every year. In fact we have been going every 4th of July weekend for the last nine years. It is now a tradition. I missed seeing great live music, fireworks, the beach, good food (yummy funnel cakes), and hanging out with the fam and friends. For those of you who live in Illinois or Wisconsin and have not ever been to summerfest should definitely check it out once in your lifetime. It is waaaaaaayyyyyyyy better than the taste of Chicago. In fact we have not been to the taste since we started going to summerfest. It really is that much better.

In the beginning of June we had Candance's graduation party (my brother's girlfriend) and a family picnic at Brookfield Zoo. We love Brookfield Zoo and make it a point to go every summer. This time around we did not pay too much attention to the animals. Our neice, Hannah was there with us and it was her first time really seeing the animals and being able to understand what they were. She was soooooooo cute!!!!

I had a party with my Sassy girls. My good friend, Karla was gracious enough to host at her place. We had a pool and a very nice clubhouse. Unfortunatley, the weather was not very cooperative, so the pool was not used very much. However, it was a good time with lots of laughs as always. Here are a few pics of my very good friend, Anneliese's little boy, Ryder. He had a blast with all the girls.

The next day we went to the southside to hang out with family because Tim's brother, Adam was in from California visiting. We went to a forest preserve and had a picnic and played games. It was a beautiful day. We had a lot of fun. Later on we went to Rainbow Cone (which I have not been to since I was a kid). They have fantastic Ice cream cones. I wish I lived closer to it. If you have the opportunity to try their ice cream, you will not be disappointed.

Hannah loved the water and wanted to jump in. She is talking up a storm. She knows lots of words and can put together phrases.

The following weekend, My friend, Karla and I went to the Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum concert. It was a really good show. We enjoyed it. We also got pedicures before going to the show. I was starting to feel sick the day of the concert with some sort of sinus bug. I felt better during the week, but it ended up coming back and I had an awful cough and trouble breathing. So, Tim took me to the urgent care and they gave me medicine, but it took all of my 4th of July weekend to get better.

This past week/weekend Tim and I spent a lot of time together because we were apart during summerfest. On Tuesday we had lunch and went to go see Grown Ups which was hilarious. I definitely recommend seeing it. Thursday after work, I went out with my friends, Karla and Tracy for dinner and drinks. We sat outside on the patio at the restaurant and towards the end of dinner the mosquitos came out and I got bitten like eight times. Friday I had a training for work in the morning and then went over to my friend, Anneliese's house. We hung out at her house. We tried to hang out in the backyard, but got eaten by mosquitos so we had to come in. I hate mosquitos!!!!! I still have way too many bites that itch every now and again. The worst ones are on my feet on the bone. I hate those. Anyways, Ryder is growing so fast and he is so big, I can't believe it. His hair is so blond now and he has changed so much. It is crazy how quickly they grow. Friday and Saturday, Hubby and I spent time at home together. We caught up on our shows and watched a couple of movies. Today he even went grocery shopping with me (which he usually would rather stay at home). We had fun in the car punching each other when we saw volkswagens. It sounds kind of juvenile, but it is fun!!! One thing my hubby can do for sure is make me laugh and keep me young. I love him sooooooo much!!!!!!! I did not bring my camera with me so I did not get any pics of this past week.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nice Long Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend which in my eyes is the kick off to summer. I had four days off and it was great. On Friday, I had a doctor's appointment and then I went to my very good friend, Anneliese's house. We hung out outside on her deck and got some sun or I should say burn, but did not realize it until much later on. We talked for hours on end. Several hours after I had been there, her son, Ryder woke up from his nap. He had a fever the night before and wasn't feeling good, so she tried to let him sleep as long as he wanted to. When he got up, he was quiet at first, but then began playing with his toys and talking. His new favorite word seems to be "no". He is growing so fast. Later on, we went out to dinner and got Mexican food. Tim came and met us for dinner. Ryder was quiet at dinner because the music was very loud. After dinner, we went back to Anneliese's house for a bit and Ryder made friends with Tim. It was really cute. He kept bringing Tim his lawn mower and showing him where the bubbles go and asking Tim to fill it up with bubbles. And when it was time for us to leave, Ryder wanted Tim to pick him up and take him with. Anneliese said that Ryder cried when we left. Here are some pics of the two of them together.

Aren't they cute? Everywhere we go kids seem to love Tim. Our neice, Hannah loves him and his Donald Duck voice. Katie, our friend Chris and Jen's daughter love Tim and she has since she was a toddler. She always wanted Tim to go play with her and he would do it and they would have lots of fun together. I know he is going to be a great dad someday.

On the baby front, in case you were wondering, we got our test results back from the fertility doctor and everything was normal. So, the doctors are not sure what is wrong. They call it unexplained fertility. Anyways, they are trying to help us get pregnant.

Saturday morning, I got up and went out to breakfast with my good friend Emily, who was visiting from Springfield. It was good to see her. Several other friends were there too. We had a good breakfast at Walker Brothers. Then I went grocery shopping which is something I haven't done in a month. We were on vacation for two weeks and then when we got back, I just kind of picked up a few essentials. So, it was a very large shopping trip with trips to several stores. Not my favorite thing to do, but it had to be done. While on my way home from grocery shopping, I discovered that my air conditioning was blowing out hot air. Tim powerwashed the deck all day. We relaxed in the evening.

On Sunday, we got up early to go take my car in and have it looked at. Only we found out that they couldn't fix it because the temperature control is messed up and apparantly only the dealer can fix it. I took a nap in the afternoon and Tim stained the deck. It is all pretty now.

On Monday, I cleaned a little and we just kind of chilled at home. We watched TV and played Mario Kart. I don't play very often, so I am not very good at Mario Kart. Tim is really good, but he plays way more often than I do. It was just for fun though. All in all, it was a nice weekend of seeing friends, doing things that needed to be done, and spending time with my hubby. My kind of weekend. Can't they all be four days long.